President Trump released a video from Walter Reed Medical Center Saturday evening, informing Americans that he felt “much better” after entering the facility and was committed to defeating the coronavirus.
“I came here, wasn’t feeling so well. I feel much better now. We’re working hard to get me all the way back. I have to be back, because we still have to make America great again. We’ve done an awfully good job of that, but we still have steps to go and we have to have to finish that job,” he said in a tweeted video.
He added that he thought he would “be back soon. And I look forward to finishing up the campaign, the way it was started and the way we’ve been doing, the kind of numbers that we’ve been doing, we’ve been so proud of it. But this was something that happened, and it’s happened to millions of people all over the world, and I’m fighting for them, not just in the US, I’m fighting for them all over the world. We’re going to beat this coronavirus or whatever you want to call it, and we’re going to beat it soundly.”
He entered Walter Reed on Friday after testing positive for the virus. Earlier on Saturday, Dr. Sean Dooley announced that Trump had normal kidney, liver, and cardiac functioning. His doctors said earlier in the day that he’d been fever-free for at least 24 hours, wasn’t on oxygen, and didn’t have difficulty breathing or walking.
He’s also started a five-day course of Remdesivir, having previously received an antibody cocktail, as well as zinc, Vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.
Trump is 74 years old and clinically obese, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide and killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S.
Trump announced his diagnosis early Friday after attending a fundraiser in New Jersey the day prior — potentially exposing others to the virus. His physician, Dr. Sean Conley, initially prompted some confusion about the timeline for Trump’s case.
Later on Saturday, Conley clarified that he “incorrectly used the term ‘seventy two hours’ instead of ‘day three’ and ‘forty eight hours’ instead of ‘day two’ with regards to his diagnosis and the administration of the polyclonal antibody treatment. The President was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening of Thursday, October 1st and had received Regeron’s [sic] antibody cocktail on Friday, October 2nd.” Conley was referring to the experimental treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Upon entering, Trump intended to continue his day-to-day work from Walter Reed’s presidential suite, which includes an office for White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a kitchen, conference room, and sleeping quarters.
“I had no choice because I just didn’t want to stay in the White House. I was given that alternative — stay in the White House, lock yourself in, don’t ever leave, don’t even go to the Oval Office, just stay upstairs and enjoy it,” he said in Saturday’s video.
“Don’t see people, don’t talk to people, and just be done with it — and I can’t do that. I had to be out front, and this is America, this is the United States. This is the greatest country in the world, this is the most powerful country in the world, I can’t be locked up in a room upstairs and totally safe and just say, hey, whatever happens happens, I can’t do that.”
In addition to the president, the first lady and several of his advisers have tested positive for the virus. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who also tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, is working remotely, but is not slowing down, according to a senior campaign official.
One of Trump’s other advisers, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said Saturday that he tested positive for the virus and checked into a hospital out of caution due to his history with asthma. Trump indicated on Sunday that former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, helped him prep but it’s unclear what exactly that entailed. Christie told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday that a group of five or six people participated in debate prep on Monday, but didn’t wear face masks.
Giuliani, along with many others in Trump’s orbit, has tested negative for the virus. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and senior White House adviser Hope Hicks have tested positive for the virus.
Just days prior to Trump’s diagnosis, he and former Vice President Joe Biden squared off for the first presidential debate of the 2020 election. Both Biden and his wife have tested negative for the virus.
At least 11 positive COVID-19 cases have been linked to planning and set up prior to Tuesday’s debate, according to officials from Cleveland, Ohio. It’s unclear how those individuals contracted the virus but Cleveland Clinic, which advised on health precautions at the debate, said on Friday evening that the individuals who tested positive “never accessed the debate hall.”
“These individuals were either members of the media or were scheduled to work logistics/set-up in the days prior to the event. Individuals did not receive credentials or tickets to enter the debate hall until they had a negative test, and all were advised to isolate while they awaited their test results,” a statement from Cleveland Clinic read.
The majority of the cases occurred with individuals who were from outside of the state, and no city residents appeared to have contracted the virus in connection with the debate.
In his video message, the president also expressed gratitude for Walter Reed’s medical staff, as well as for what he described as “almost a bipartisan consensus” supporting him during the difficult time.
“I just want to be so thankful for all of the support I’ve seen, whether it’s on television or reading about it. I, most of all, appreciate what’s been said by the American people, by almost a bipartisan consensus of American people — it’s a beautiful thing to see. And I very much appreciate it and I won’t forget it — promise you that. I also want to thank the leaders of the world for their condolences and their — they know what we’re going through,” he said.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Brooke Singman, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.